Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Exotic/Disgusting Foods and Beverages Forum--Cameroonian Soft Drinks

     Back to the Union Market treasures, after a brief hiatus.  But first, some information about the African nation of Cameroon.  Cameroon's name is the English version of a Portuguese word, camaroes, which means "shrimp river," as its Wouri River apparently impressed the Portuguese sailors with its large numbers of the tasty creatures.  Since the country is a combination of former English and French colonies, these two languages are the official ones.  However, at least 230 other languages are spoken within its borders, or over 1700 different linguistic groups!  It's one of the wettest nations on Earth, averaging 1028 cm. of rainfall every year.  Moving to sports, Cameroon was the first African country to make it to the quarter finals in the World Cup (Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010 equaled this feat).
     However, the interesting (if disturbing and tragic) fact that struck me the most was that Cameroon has two of the three suffocating lakes in the world.  Literally.  A limnic eruption is when carbon dioxide emerges from the deep water of a lake, sometimes in amounts that can kill surrounding animals and people.  One such incident, in 1986, from Cameroon's Lake Nyos, killed 1700 people.  The other two lakes are Cameroon's Lake Monoun and the Democratic Republic of Congo's Lake Kivu.  These lakes are associated with, or even atop, volcanoes that leak the carbon dioxide into the water.  Small volcanic eruptions, landslides, or earthquakes can then cause huge amounts of carbon dioxide to erupt suddenly and blanket the countryside.  Fortunately, for Lake Nyos and Lake Monoun, a possible solution has been tried, which seems to be helping.  Pipes have been placed in the lakes, extending down into the deep water, and causing small amounts of carbon dioxide at a time to be released safely.
     Enough about this, let's get to the beverages.  I was able to get three soft drinks, all from SABC, (or Les Societes Anonumes des Brasseries du Cameroon), which controls 75% of the Cameroon soft drink and beer market.  As I often do, I'll rate them using the U.S. scholastic system of "A" for excellent, "B" for good, "C" for average, "D" for unsatisfactory but barely passing, and "F" for failure, with pluses and minuses as needed.

Top Anana (pineapple) flavor:  C-.  Had a pale yellow color.  Very disappointing, as its flavor was very weak.  Not bad, exactly, but too bland for me.

D'jino Fruit Cocktail flavor (or Cocktail de Fruits, in French):  B.  Was a cloudy pinkish-red color.  Enjoyed this one.  Fruity as advertised, and had a more juice-like quality than most soft drinks do (although there isn't any actual juice in it).  Pretty good.

Top Grenadine flavor:  B+.  My favorite of the bunch.  The flavor was printed in small letters, so I didn't realize what it was until much later.  To me this red soda tasted strawberry-ish.  Much better than its anana sibling, with more flavor.  After looking it up, I learned grenadine is usually pomegranate-flavored.  Which I clearly didn't recognize here, but, as I said, I liked it anyway, so who really cares?

     Therefore, I enjoyed two out of the three.  To be fair, I don't generally like pineapple-flavored drinks, candies, etc. so that one was a bit of a stretch.  The bottles were distinctive, too--20 ounces for the D'jino, 22 ounces for the Tops.  Glass, too, which I'm not used to seeing in the U.S. for sodas much anymore.

     Below I've included a photo from the store I got these (the photographer was my friend Keith once more).  Notice the large, scary-looking dried fish!  Alas, I didn't have the cooking skills to really do these up, so I didn't buy them.

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